January 25, 2012

Job Search: Culture Trumps Position

In today's economy, you can't stop "looking." That means whether you're employed or unemployed there's always room to upgrade. Like my friend Wing Lam, owner of Wahoo's Fish Taco, said, "What job is secure?"

Here are several reasons why looking for the right culture is more important than the actual position:

Culture aligns a company towards its mission, vision and goals.

Culture is an extension of the company's core values. That means how people behave.

Culture will determine your working conditions: resources provided & people around you.

Culture reveals how much collaboration and cohesion between departments is encouraged.

Culture says how you will be supported and rewarded a.k.a. motivated.

Culture shows how long you will stay.

Companies such as Google, Zappos and Facebook are starting a trend where company cultures attract the best talent. It's no secret that new offices are popping up everywhere highlighting the perks of working with them. Sure, it's harder to get in, but since the standards have been raised, the quality of the worker has improved. This isn't saying position isn't important, it is. What's more important is culture.

January 18, 2012

The High Cost of Not Keeping Your Word

Is it just me or have we become a society that doesn't value keeping our word? 

Are we commitment phobic or just plain selfish? Nowadays promising something doesn't always mean you'll follow through. Why is that?

Is there no honor in doing what you say? What effect does it have on others? How does it affect your reputation?

In your career, how does your boss and co-workers view you if you don't follow through with what you say you will do?

With your friends, what consequences arise when you flake out?

Not keeping your word is NOT the same as an emergency or about being "perfect." 

People will let you down. It's human nature. Expect perfection and you'll be disappointed. 

Everyone is busy, but that's not an excuse. Have the decency to let others know if plans have changed. At the core of this issue is trust. Your reputation is at stake. Without it, what do you have? 

It's much more than job performance, being a good friend or making mistakes. 

This is controllable. Before you speak, think about what you say. Don't make a promise you can't fulfill. The cost is too high... 

January 12, 2012

Career Fitness

Your career is a lot like fitness. Look at these 3 ways fitness can boost your career:  

What are your goals? When you hire a personal trainer, you tell him/her your goals. It's up to them to create a program for you to achieve your goals. Your career is the same. What do you want to accomplish? Once you establish your "career target", you can start drafting a game plan of how to achieve it. Without an end goal in mind, how do even know if you're going in the right direction? 

There are no "quick fixes." Diets don't work. A lifestyle change does. When it comes to your career, let's use networking as an example. If you treat connecting with people like a "diet," you won't get the results you desire. Instead look at it as part of your career, period. Meet and follow-up with people weekly for the rest of your life. Even though your "job" may change, your career is a lifelong investment. Treat it that way.

Self motivation & discipline. You can join a gym, but what good is it if you don't workout there consistently? Actions speak louder than words. You can gather all the greatest knowledge in the world, but if you don't apply it, it's worthless. At the end of the day, it's up to you. No matter who you hire, what you delegate/crowd source or whom you have access to, your career growth is your responsibility. What daily habits can you implement to become more successful in your career?

I love going to the gym. It's had a huge impact on my career. Working out helps me visualize my goals, reminds me it takes time to develop and the feeling I get from achievement keeps me coming back for more. Try looking at your career in a new way. How can you become more "fit" in your career?

January 6, 2012

Idealist vs. Realist

Idealist a.k.a. Optimist. Dreams are meant to be followed. Look at Steve Jobs' life. He never took "no" for an answer. Instead listening to critics, he decided to create products that people didn't even know they needed (wanted). What are your lofty goals? Are you going towards or away from your target? Idealists don't settle. They work hard for what they want. Sure, the percentages are against you, but isn't that the fuel that becomes added motivation? Idealists know hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.

Realist a.k.a. Pessimist. The glass is half full. In our current economic state, stability is hard to obtain. There is as much underemployment as unemployment and it doesn't seem to be getting any better. Do you take the lesser paying job because it's your best option? Do you put your dreams on hold until things get "better?" Most of us can't afford to take as many risks now. If you have a job, be thankful. It's about putting your needs before your wants and making more logical/rational decisions vs. emotional ones. This is about survival.

So which one are you? It's more of a decision between "wants" vs. "needs" when it comes to your career. A serial entrepreneur is a perfect example of both. He/she dreams big, but is very systematic when it comes to making financial decisions. There's no wrong or right way, just two sides to look at. Think of your career as a spectrum...where do you fall?